Mobilegeddon: Here is What’s Happening Now

Mobilegeddon: Here is What’s Happening Now

Check back here for the latest developing news around Mobilegeddon! We will update as we receive new data.

Updated: 11:45am Central (GMT-5), 30 April 2015

desktop v mobile pt 6

It has been over a week since Google’s mobile algorithm change started rolling out, and the resulting turbulence was less impressive than many speculated — with the effect that was more like ripples in the kiddie pool than tidal waves.

Why is this? Why was there such an industry-wide panic leading up to this change? And why haven’t we seen a corresponding, monumental shift as a result?

As we mentioned in an earlier blog post, Google has been showing preferential treatment of mobile-friendly sites since it started displaying the “Mobile-Friendly” tag on search results in mobile SERPs in November. So, it’s likely that the biggest shifts have already occurred gradually over the past 6 months. The fact that Google was so candid in its initial announcement about the details around the change as well as giving a deadline was really remarkable.

Additionally, it’s very likely that sites have been taking mobile a lot more seriously leading up to Mobilegeddon.

DomainMobile-Friendly4/20/154/27/15Change
m.staples.comYes123411288
m.yelp.comYes8831023140
m.jcpenney.comYes22529469
m.huffpost.comYes178366
mobile.pcmag.com
Yes06262
mobile.kohls.comNo47052555
www.dsw.com
Yes54944
m.frontgate.com
Yes125442
m.hottopic.com
Yes04242
m.allposters.com
Yes04040
m.6pm.com
No03838
www.consumerreports.org
Yes19022636
www.m.webmd.com
Yes47450430
m.drugstore.com
Yes02727
m.newegg.com
Yes11814325
www.bedbathandbeyond.com
Yes47650125
www.houzz.com
Yes21423824
digitaltrends.com
Yes658823
m.mattressfirm.com
Yes244622
m.ballarddesigns.com
Yes93021

In this table, you’ll note that mobile-friendly sites have gained a great deal of ranking increases into the Top 3 results in Google’s mobile SERP in the past 7 days.

DomainMobile-Friendly4/20/154/27/15Change
www.staples.comYes2925-287
en.m.wikipedia.orgYes1102210783-239
www.huffingtonpost.comYes650-65
m.lowes.comYes944892-52
m.facebook.comYes654603-51
www.pcmag.com
Yes217168-49
www.hottopic.comYes471-46
m.youtube.comYes24142376-38
www.6pm.comYes186153-33
www.allposters.comNo330-33
m.homedepot.comYes23342302-32
www.newegg.comNo208176-32
m.macys.comYes13281299-29
i.reddit.comYes240-24
www.facebook.comYes188168-20
www.bestbuy.comYes17371717-20
www.mattressfirm.comYes222-20
www.imdb.comYes924905-19
www.urbandictionary.comYes173154-19
www.torrid.comYes180-18

In a few cases, you can see that the change was merely a trade-off of mobile ranking to the mobile versions of sites, like Staples.com, Huffingtonpost.com, and pcmag.com. However, there are mobile sites that actually lost ranking in the Top 3 results in Google’s mobile SERP at the same time.

How is this possible? We will continue to dig into the data to see exactly what happened, but Keith Goode, the Chief SEO Evangelist at seoClarity, speculates that:

“It’s possible that, for those mobile-friendly sites that actually lost ranking in this algorithm change, their competitors either finally came online with a mobile presence with an 11th-hour solution, or Google finally recognized their mobile presences with this algo change. The result was an improvement in rank for those competitors, and a loss in rank for the previously-ranking sites.”

We will continue to monitor rankings and let you know if anything changes.

Updated: 2:40pm Central (GMT-5), 24 April 2015

Day 4 of Mobilegeddon: Biggest change so far. 5.9% variance day-over-day. Since the mobile-friendly change was rolled out, there has been a total of 6.6% variation between desktop and mobile SERP results.

Day 4 of Mobilegeddon: Biggest change so far. 5.1% variance day-over-day. Since the mobile-friendly change was rolled out, there has been a total of 6.6% variation between desktop and mobile SERP results.

This morning, during his Google+ hangout, Google’s John Mueller indicated that the mobile changes have been completely rolled out in some data centers. And we’re starting to see a more dramatic variation between Google’s mobile results and their desktop SERPs. Overnight, we’ve seen a 5.1% increase in the number of different results between those two SERP types. That brings the total difference from April 20th, the day before the change, to 6.6%.

Remember, that’s for 50,000 keyword queries with roughly 60,000 domains ranking in the Top 10 results.

Has your site been affected … positively or negatively? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Updated: 1:00pm Central (GMT-5), 23 April 2015

Day 3 of Mobilegeddon shows a slight leveling in the disparity between desktop and mobile ranking. In the 50,000 queries we ran, there seems to be a 0.5% correction as of 23 April 2015.

Day 3 of Mobilegeddon shows a slight leveling in the disparity between desktop and mobile ranking. In the 50,000 queries we ran, there seems to be a 0.5% correction as of 23 April 2015.

Here we are at Day 3 of Google’s Mobile Algorithm change, and the world still appears to be intact. Of the 50,000 keywords we have analyzed and the associated 60,000 domains appearing in the Top 10 results in Google’s desktop and mobile SERPs, April 23rd actually appears to show a 0.5% change in the opposite direction.

The overall “non-impact” of this change has many in the search industry wondering, “Is this it?” Of course, we’ll continue to monitor the SERPs and will update here accordingly, but we caution against complacency. There are a couple of potential reasons for the lack of deep impact:

  1. Dr. Pete at Moz reports seeing a notable increase in the number of sites in the Top 10 results becoming mobile-friendly over the past 8 days. So the lack of impact could be directly attributed to the sites themselves, which may have taken the threat of lost traffic to heart and updated their mobile-readiness.
  2. Google has already stated that this roll-out will take more than a single day. Changes in the Top-ranked sites could be gradual and barely noticeable for all we know.

We have looked at the ranking gains and losses individually and have estimated the corresponding potential traffic gains and losses. Some domains that saw gains in estimated search traffic included JCPenney.com, Zales.com, and BedBathandBeyond.com. The chart below for BedBathandBeyond.com shows a 7% increase in estimated search traffic when comparing 4/18 and 4/22.

Based on the 50,000 keyword set we analyzed, sites like BedBathandBeyond.com might see a notable improvement in traffic due to their ranking improvements.

Based on the 50,000 keyword set we analyzed, sites like BedBathandBeyond.com might see a notable improvement in traffic due to their ranking improvements.

On the flip side of the coin are a few companies that saw losses in estimated search traffic, which included domains like OfficeDepot.com, History.com, and RottenTomatoes.com. The chart below for RottenTomatoes.com shows a 5% decrease in estimated search traffic when comparing 4/18 and 4/22.

Sites that have see ranking declines over the past few days, such as RottenTomatoes.com, could see a notable decrease in traffic.

Sites that have see ranking declines over the past few days, such as RottenTomatoes.com, could see a notable decrease in traffic.

Again, these traffic numbers are based on keyword search volume estimates and in no way represent actual traffic numbers.

Check back here regularly for more updates as we gather more data around Mobilegeddon 2015.

Updated: 12:00pm Central (GMT-5), 22 April 2015

 Mobilegeddeon desktop vs mobile analysis - 21 April 2015

This chart shows the difference between domains appearing in the top 10 results in Google’s desktop SERP vs Google’s mobile SERP over the past five days. 4/22 data shows a ~2% change.

For Day 2 of this mobile algorithm change, we have started to see a shift in the Top 10 results in Google’s mobile SERP as compared to the desktop SERP. The difference between site visibility in mobile vs. desktop has shifted 1.7% for the 60,000 domains appearing in the Top 10 results for 50,000 keyword searches.

As Google continues to roll out this change, we may see even more dramatic differences in the coming days and weeks.

Have you seen a change in your mobile rankings yet? Let us know in the comments below.

Originally posted at 6:26pm CDT (GMT-5) on 21 April 2015

This chart shows the difference between domains appearing in the top 10 results in Google’s desktop SERP vs Google’s mobile SERP over the past four days.

This chart shows the difference between domains appearing in the top 10 results in Google’s desktop SERP vs Google’s mobile SERP over the past four days.

The tension in the search industry has mounted higher each day since Google announced that mobile-friendly sites would have a distinct advantage over mobile-unfriendly sites starting on April 21st. Industry blogs have been abuzz with speculation as to how big this change would be.

When April 21st rolled around, reaction was also mixed, but many SEOs were calling it a “boring, non-event.”

What Does the Data Say?

seoClarity has been tracking the ranking data in the top 10 results in Google for 50,000 keywords and over 60,000 domains in the e-commerce segment since before the mobile algorithm update, and we ran those numbers again early this morning to see if there were any statistically significant changes.

The data says: No. There is no significant change.

Why hasn’t it changed? How can this be? Well, Google released a statement on their blog stating that the rollout would be gradual and that webmasters might not notice a difference at first. We suggest that there are three potential reasons we haven’t see a significant change:

  1. We collected the data early in the day. Significant portions of the initial rollout might have taken all day or might have started later in the day that our rank analysis. We will run our analysis again tomorrow and check for any changes in mobile results.
  2. We only targeted 50,000 keywords around a specific segment. e-commerce sites tend to stay up-to-date on technological innovations, so they might have a distinct advantage as a segment over other industry segments. We’ll do 300,000 keywords tomorrow and see the difference
  3. Google’s gradual rollout won’t reflect a change over a period of days or weeks. Changes in the mobile SERPs may not appear in a significant way until the mobile algorithm update is fully implemented. We have already shown that Google has favored mobile-friendly sites for several months. So, we expect mobile SERPs to continue to evolve.

Check back here tomorrow and later this week as we continue to measure the ranking impact of Google’s Mobilegeddon.

For information on how to see seoClarity in action click here.

Ryan Heuser
Ryan Heuser
With over 5 years of SEO and online marketing experience, Ryan (affectionately known as the Data Doctor) is the Product Manager at seoClarity, facilitating new platform features, producing analytical research projects and employing the platform to provide client's with consultative insights. Ryan achieved his MBA in Marketing & Management from Concordia University Wisconsin.
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Showing 15 comments
  • Iván
    Reply

    Great Analysis!

    Guys I was wondering if you could perform some analysis after a week, as Google has mentioned it will take that long to see the full impact.

    Iván.

    • Keith Goode
      Reply

      Hi there! We will be updating this post as new data arises. Check back later today. We’re re-running our reports now. Thanks!

    • Ryan Heuser
      Reply

      Thanks Ivan!

      We’ll be closely monitoring this every day for at least the next week to make sure we get a good view of the impact.

  • giorgio
    Reply

    GOOD WORK!

  • John Saenz
    Reply

    Ryan,
    Good stuff as always, big thanks for rolling this out Ryan and Gang!
    Interesting that they decided to do a slow roll-out. Lucky for us (and probably other big, multi-sided companies) :)
    Is the update for the 300k+ keyword set out yet? I’d love to see weekly, and maybe over the next few months.
    Would be good data to have out there 😉
    Thanks again gents, and hope to see you at SMX Advanced!

    • Ryan Heuser
      Reply

      Thanks for the kind words John!

      From what we’ve seen it definitely seems to be a non-event and for many sites that is definitely a good thing. I’m looking into the larger keyword set but haven’t found anything world shattering yet. We’ll definitely share any insights we find.

  • Michelle Stinson Ross
    Reply

    Dang RottenTomatoes, get with it! Movie reviews are absolutely something I’d look up on my phone while I’m out and about. Don’t make me go to my Fandango app.

  • Damien
    Reply

    This is amazing research. I’ve been tracking about 50 different keywords for different clients and it’s not enough to see a great deal of change.

    Tracking this amount of keywords lets you see a decent change so far. I’ll be glued to this website over the next 2 weeks to see the full impact as it happens.

  • Clay C
    Reply

    Thanks for compiling this data! For a number of clients, we started seeing drops in Google Mobile traffic on 04/15/15 – a week before the official roll out. Do you have any desktop/mobile SERP difference data from 04/14/15?

  • Roman
    Reply

    Hi,
    any new updates ? :)

    • Keith Goode
      Reply

      Hi Roman: We just updated the blog post with our freshest data and speculation. Please let us know if you have any feedback or suggestions. All the best, KG

  • Scott Hendison
    Reply

    Thanks for the clarity here, and sharing the detailed stats. Sort of reminiscent of Y2k, huh?

    • Ryan Heuser
      Reply

      Thanks Scott, it would appear that way so far. A lot of hype but not much to show.

  • Beau Buckley
    Reply

    Question ?

    What type of effect does this have on WordPress mobile responsive sites. Will I get better rankings if i have mobile specific with the m. ?

    Will i get penalized

    • Ryan Heuser
      Reply

      Hi Beau,

      Thanks for your question. As long as the site in question is able to adapt to the viewport, as most respsonsive sites do, it shouldn’t have any negative impact. Google seems to have an affinity towards responsive sites but m. and even subfolder structures, such as /mobile/, should be adequate. I’ve yet to see a penalty for any mobile-friendly sites as long as they don’t go against Google’s ToS.

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